Mentorship is the influence, guidance, or direction given by a mentor. A mentor is someone who teaches or gives help and advice to a less experienced and often younger person.
Due to unforeseen circumstances from past 6 - 8 months, I've been the Senior most engineer in my team, (I've a total of just 2.7~ YOE). My team consists of 12~ SDE 1s (New Hires) and 2 SDE2s (The other SDE2 being promoted very recently). My manager does a great job filling the role of which reduces bit of pressure off of me.
However, due to necessity in the team I've ended up being SME in all the services owned by our team. This leads to everyone reaching out to me to help them with their queries, I try to document some of these and add in the Wikis so that it can be easily accessible for others next time. However, when it comes to certain tickets and issues, I end up having to pick that task up myself (Manager does not ask me to, but at same time i know that for someone else the ramp up time required to fix the issue would be too high).
I recently tried to reduce this (2~ months ago), this led to our overall ticket health getting worse and I had to again start looking into them myself and guiding each on-call cycle with right action items for the tickets etc.
This involves me helping them to do the following :-
Due to which it ends up taking 6+ hours weekly to keep this running. I don't really mind doing this, however i don't feel this is a scalable solution and would eventually want to slowly scale down from doing this and have my team being able to be self-sufficient.
What's the best way to go about this without affecting my team's ticket health?
I'm wondering about the dynamics (plusses and minuses) of having a personal mentor. Taro is fantastic in that it gives me access to the best software engineers to answer all the tech-related questions I can think of.
Still, I'm wondering if there are advantages to having a specific mentor, someone a few years senior to me who's in the position I want to be in. The idea would be that they could show me what to focus on to develop my career in a way that is more individualized. I write this as I've just been matched with Orbiit which I'm super excited about, but not sure if that's mentorship so much as peer-to-peer.
I got the mentorship idea from a company called SharpestMinds, which focuses on project-focused mentorship for career switchers for Data and SWE roles.
This question isn't about them, but the idea of personal mentorship more generally.
So to summarize, I have 3 questions:
I've done a lot of research on how to be a good manager, but now do I just "trust the process" or how do I ensure we are a high performance team over the next half?
I'm a newish EM at a Series-B start up of 150 people, ~25 engineers. So far I have positive feedback from my manager and reports that I am empathetic and supportive. What my manager is telling me now though is that we need to see results. Productivity and performance seem OK in my first months but it is too soon to really see my impact. My manager noted that since we have scaled up from 4 engineers to 25 and gone mostly remote over 3 years there may be a loss of a sense of urgency and the feeling of impact per dev. We are also split into many teams with a smaller scope per team.
The temptation when asked to "get results" might be to ask for constant updates from developers and punish them when fake hard deadlines are given and missed (we are a B2C company so there are rarely actual deadlines). So how do I motivate my team to work hard in a healthy sustainable way? How do I measure the progress and reward them fairly while creating a team focused culture and not one that is competitive and individualist?
Below are some of the management ideas I'm using/working towards. I have lots of room to learn how to do each better, so advice on which to prioritize my effort at improving first would be great in addition to notes on what's missing and what seems off on the list:
Bonus questions about motivation: In 1:1s how do you figure out what motivates someone since they might not say extrinsic things like money even if that is what they are working for, or the opposite they might be happy at their level and just like the work they do with a good work life balance but might not say that directly either. Also if there is a team of 5 where 2 want money and 3 love the work for itself, how do you tailor their experience to that? The first two will still want fun/interesting work and the second three still want to get promoted and compensated fairly.
I am working as an Entry level engineer at mid size product based company. In my end year performance review, I got a feedback that I can work on improving my debugging and technical skills more. As well as, knowledge of other features and overall product as a whole would need to be increased as well.
My Tech lead has offered to mentor me by conducting 1:1 sessions to help me improve at debugging and help identify patterns and teach basic principles. 2 other senior engineers on the team also reached out and offered to conduct sessions regularly with me, for which I am really grateful.
For more context, all my teammates work remotely, so it is not beneficial to go to office. My question is, how can I best utilize these sessions with the senior engineers on team to improve more and skill up? That is, what kind of preparation/ questions should I have ready to make the most of these sessions?
At my current level, my skip level manager expects me to help my team members grow. I have couple of SDE 1s and SDE IIs in my team who are doing good. I am not sure if I can schedule one on one with them to understand their career goals and volunteer to be their technical & career mentor?
Will it look bad if I volunteer myself to be their career mentor? Or should I just mentor people who reach out to me?
I'm on a team with many new SDE 1s, and I'm trying to get them up to speed. However talking with all of them takes a lot of time, and it's affecting my velocity with project execution. My manager suggested that I set up office hours. Does that idea make sense and are there any other ways to make this all more efficient?
As a senior engineer L5 in my company for 1 year, I recently found myself in a new team with a new direct manager but report to the same Director in the same Org due to the recent company restructure/company reorganization as part of layoff changes. My Director and I are the direct responsible individuals for the Backend Platform System for the last 1 year. However, I am finding that a significant portion of my time is being taken up by "glue work," such as onboarding new teammates, updating the Wiki, documenting On-call Runbook, mentoring cross-functional team members, providing code reviews for new developers, and unblocking people in their code development. While these tasks seem important, they are making it difficult for me to focus on my own projects.
In my first one-on-one, my new manager expressed a desire for me to take on new initiatives. I am eager to do so, but I need to be able to focus on my own work to make this possible. My manager understood that the frequent on-call support was a blocker for me and asked me to train and onboard a new teammate to take over the on-call support, as well as field requests from users and help others with their work. However, I have still found myself doing a lot of training and providing support even two weeks since my last meeting.
I would like to hear from others who have found a way to balance these responsibilities effectively. How can I prioritize my own work while still contributing to the team's success? I know this will be a difficult decision, and I'm not sure how to approach it. I'm worried that if I stop doing some of these tasks, it may impact my relationship with my manager and team.
If anyone has faced a similar challenge, I would appreciate hearing about how you approached it. Did you stop doing certain tasks and responsibilities, and if so, how did it affect your relationship with your team? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Currently, I'm on a 10 person team, but we only have 3 senior engineers and the remaining 7 are E4s (5 people) and E3s (me and one other new grad). For our upcoming half, they want E4s leading some of the projects for their development. However, I would like guidance, mentorship, and feedback from an E5 or above ideally since they are more experienced. Also, from one of the Taro videos on feedback, one of the points made was to find a way to get feedback from senior engineers at the end of the half who will bolster your PSC packet versus a mid-level engineer who might not hold as much weight (Correct me if I'm wrong)?
Anyway to navigate this the right way? Should I avoid certain projects that are led by E4s? Does this even matter?
At a previous company, a friend had an exceptional mentor who helped him climb from mid-level to senior engineer in 1.5 years. I’ve struggled to find a mentor of similar caliber. What advice do you have for finding a good mentor?
I am mentoring juniors for the last few weeks. In the past, I've been mentoring people with some professional experience but this colleague doesn't have any. Now, after these few weeks I am wondering:
I think the colleagues are really motivated and this is one of the reasons I want to help them. I want to be sure I did everything I can.
Apologies in advance for a long question. Not sure how to ask this question without providing deeper context.
I’ve been working with my current manager for the last 1.5 years. While they have recently helped me get promoted to Senior, it’s been a constant struggle. I dread our 1:1 almost every single week because it always run overtime and we are often still not on the same page.
I see two major issues that haven’t notably improved in the times I’ve reported to them.
(1) My manager isn’t able to coach me, or any of the SWEs on the team. My manager doesn’t seem confident when we have career discussions - I recently asked them what they thought was the difference between good TL and a great one, and they struggled to coherently answer this. Instead, they said they would know better after the next performance calibration. Additionally, none of my teammate has gotten proper coaching either. For example, a teammate struggled to submit code due to their poor code quality and thus had low CL velocity, so my Manager simply told them to submit more CLs, which only made them more stressed without a legitimate way to improve.
(2) My manager lacks technical understanding of our projects and constantly pushes for speed. My manager was externally hired, and to this day, they don’t really understand the complexity of the work our team does. I understand EMs don’t need to contribute code directly, but my manager almost always underestimate how complicated the projects our team takes on are. As engineers, we frequently have to defend our timelines, which is not only frustrating but also pressures some teammates to favor suboptimal design or hastily done CLs that just causes even more churn.
The weird part is, my manager often seem unaware of their own actions, and when I talk to them about these issues, they are always receptive to feedback and seem willing to improve. However, I simply haven’t seen enough improvement in the last 1.5 years.
I could leave, since this is having an impact on my emotional well-being. But I do have good standing w/ my own team and the overall org, and I want to use this situation to learn as much as I could. I know that I myself have a lot to learn as a tech lead (Thanks for , it’s really helpful), and I know I can probably get a bit ahead of our projects and start estimating/de-risking earlier, so my Manager doesn’t get overly aggressive with timelines. I know I can also take this chance to more closely mentor my teammates and help them succeed, since they aren’t really getting it from our manager.
I want to stay, but is it the wrong decision because I have little career support from my manager? If I do stay, what should I focus on so I can really help my team and at the same time learn something valuable for my career?
When I've been helpful in the past, word quickly spread and a bunch of random engineers started pinging me for help, sometimes aggressively. Sometimes people would delegate grunt work like asking me to test their PRs that do library upgrades instead of testing them themselves. Or asking me to debug their dev environments because they heard I fixed another engineer's dev environment. Sometimes it'll just be asking for expedited code reviews even though I have no domain knowledge on their PRs. We work on the same platform, but are not on the same team or often even the same org. There are only so many hours in the day and I need to get my own work done as well. How do you decide who to help and under what circumstances? Advice on how to push back without damaging the relationship? As far as I can tell, it looks like anyone from E4 through E7 are the ones making these requests.
I have a couple years of experience, so I'm thinking if it makes sense to go down the engineering manager path. I'm well-positioned to start this journey at my current company as well; I'm a very early engineer on my team, and I have the ability to build up the team and mentor those new people. However, I'm unsure if this is the right way for my career to go and how much of my job I want to be people management - How can I figure this out?
I just got promoted to senior engineer level (E5) at Google and I just switched into an infra team 2 months ago. In order to succeed as a senior engineer, I know I need to mentor and influence other engineers, specifically helping newer and more junior folks on the team.
How can I do that quickly, acknowledging that I’m not their direct manager?
I'm an E5 iOS engineer at a Big Tech company. I'm struggling to understand what leadership means. A Director told me Leadership means making sure the project is successful no matter what happens. As a result, I often end up doing other people's jobs for them (e.g., when a backend engineer struggles to get their piece working, I often hand-held them and have even created backend PRs to unblock some projects even though I'm an iOS engineer). However, a mentor told me that E6's don't do the work themselves but delegate it to others to scale themselves. If this is true, then what does an E6 do when working with engineers who are either unwilling or unable to complete their deliverables in the expected timeframe and quality? This becomes even more challenging when working cross-functionally with engineers who are not on my team. Also, how do you lead when you're not the DRI (Directly Responsible Individual) / tech lead for a project (e.g., when the tech lead is an E6 on another team, but is not setting up the team for success by refusing to communicate requirements clearly)?
I'm working on a cross-functional project with a backend DRI (E3) and Android engineer (E4?). I'm iOS, but have a backend background so I could easily code the backend portion if I needed to. The DRI reports to a different EM, who was on vacation for the first few weeks of the project. The DRI was struggling to get the backend piece working, so I spent extra time hand-holding him on how to debug it. I even researched how another feature in the iOS codebase used similar API calls and created a Postman collection for him to troubleshoot his APIs more easily. Is this a good use of my time? What percent of my time should I spend on helping others versus doing my own work? The Android engineer did not help the DRI because he doesn't know backend, so there was no one else to help the DRI.
I already have great working relationships with several staff engineers in my org, but I'd like to take it a step further and enter a formal mentorship with them. How can I go about this in a natural way?
Whether that be a formal mentor within the company or you have found a mentor outside the company.
e.g. I want to level up as an engineer, have sought out a mentor(s) to help me do so, what are some of the things I should make sure happen that I get the most benefit out of the relationship.
My mentee is a slow learner. Rest of the team, both tenured and new team members are very much able to make an impact independently and working together as well. But this mentee of mine, is just not there yet even after being in the team for a little more than 6 months now. As a mentor, what approach I can try, to make my mentee become successful in my team?
There is a mentorship program at Booking, but I am not currently enrolled. This is because I’m not entirely sure what sort of mentorship I should seek out. How can I figure out the optimal mentor to have?
In terms of what a potential mentor can help me with, I'm currently spending a lot of cycle on a Perl -> Java migration effort across the company's legacy codebase.
Here are some thoughts from me:
Do these make sense or is there something I'm missing?
I recently joined a startup (just finished my third week about to start my fourth) and I set up a one-on-one last week with my manager to hopefully create a mentor-mentee relationship. That went well and now I’m looking to create a growth plan and a way to measure my performance. We’ll be checking in on a weekly basis so I can get a sense of my performance and how I am growing as a engineer.
Given that it is a Series B startup with ~25 people, our goals will be shifting a lot which makes long-term growth plans hard to create. For context, since I joined, my 60 day and 90 day projects have shifted somewhat. So how do I create a growth plan that is flexible and what should it include (Concrete goals vs. more behavior orientated goals)?? Should the growth plan be used separately from judging my performance or would it be the measuring stick for performance?
Would really appreciate some insight on this.
Context: I work as a Entry Level SWE at Series B Startup with 25 people; the SWE team is 7 people total. I am the only person currently under my manager & my coworkers are fairly clear about what I am building & why. Also, the SWE team morale is strong and productivity seems to be at a sustainable rate.
In general, I think my manager & mentor is an incredible engineer & empathetic person open to feedback/trying new things. He’s personable, highly knowledgable, is available to answer my questions, & answers all my noobie questions. While I love these aspects, I do feel he is a bit reactive as a manager. When I asked him if he wanted to be my mentor, he agreed but I think he interprets it as being available to answering more of my questions. I don't think he is used to being a mentor or a manager and would like to see a more proactive effort from his side to help me level up as a engineer (right now I am mostly bringing up the ideas for 1:1 meetings, and creating a growth plan, etc).
So how do I help him?
There's a lot said about asking great questions, but I'm wondering what guidelines apply to the other side: Providing great answers. How can it be done in a way where the answer resonates the most with the asker and the relationship is built up?
I'm trying to get promoted to E5, and my progress so far has been decent. I'm doing well on all 4 axes, but I currently have a gap on the people axis (it's not Exceeds Expectations yet). I know that people/direction are very important for E5s, so I really want to get better here. I do things like give tech talks and mentor some rotational engineers, but it doesn't seem to be enough for an E5-level people contribution. What can I do to shore up this aspect of my performance?
Whether it's mentoring a junior or writing documentation, I'm not sure how to best balance the level of information sharing with the speed of development - especially regarding new features or projects. At the moment, I share information as it's required or wanted, but I feel like it's easy for people to dismiss learning anything new, which leaves me uncertain as to whether or not I should push for others to learn about work or handle it on an as-needed basis. If this is related to a team's culture, then what kind of practices should I be advocating for?
During my first 1 on 1 with a manager, I asked him if he could help me find a mentor and he said he would find one within our overall organization. He also said he could find me a manager within overall Amazon if I want. This would for overall mentorship in Amazon vs being limited to the scope of just my organization.
What are some advantages/disadvantages of having 2+ mentors? Also are there any qualities I should be(or probably more likely asking him to be) on the lookout for those 2 mentors?